Cisco buys SamKnows to give ThousandEyes a look at millions of endpoints

Packets you make at home or on mobile devices are in Switchzilla's sights, to make hybrid workers happy

On the heels of Cisco’s Accedian acquisition last week, the network giant has snapped up SamKnows to extend its ThousandEyes network performance monitoring (NPM) stack to remote and hybrid workers.

UK-based SamKnows is an internet performance monitoring platform that runs on home routers and mobile devices. Its telemetry agents are deployed by Telstra, Bell, British Telecom, Verizon, Virgin Media, Charter, Vodafone, and Rogers to name a handful, and collectively generate “billions of measurements each month,” the biz claims.

As we understand it, these agents — which can installed on a variety of popular router platforms, including Amazon's Eero, or as a Docker container — pull metrics on things like connection speed, latency, packet loss, and jitter. This information can then be used to proactively identify outages or service disruptions and maintain service level agreements (SLAs).

Cisco execs see the acquisition as an opportunity to get a better handle on how remote and hybrid workers connect to the internet.

“In the last few years, hybrid work has dramatically expanded the role of broadband networks, and companies are increasingly dependent on these networks to connect customers and employees to applications and services”, former ThousandEyes CEO and Cisco SVP of Network Assurance Mohit Lad explained in a blog post Tuesday.

Cisco aims to harness SamKnows's “millions” of telemetry agents to extend ThousandEye’s watchful gaze to potential challenges that might crop up across the last mile of the network and disrupt worker productivity.

“Customers now have a single source of truth for how the internet is performance across their entire infrastructure, including home and mobile device networks,” Jonathan Davidson, EVP of Networking at Cisco, is quoted as saying in a statement.

The SamKnows buy comes just a week after Cisco announced its intent to acquire Canadian network performance management vendor Accedian for an undisclosed sum. Like SamKnows, the company’s platform is used by several large ISPs and service providers including Telefonica, Colt, SK telecom, and T-Systems, to monitor and manage their networks.

Cisco plans to integrate the Canadian company into its Datacenter and Provider Connectivity business unit, but notes metrics collected by the platform will be fed back into ThousandEyes.

Since acquiring ThousandEyes in early 2020 for $1 billion, Cisco has invested heavily in its network performance monitoring stack to address a broad range of enterprise and service provider issues, particularly those around SLAs and application performance.

Last year, the networking Goliath announced tighter integration between ThousandEyes and the company’s AppDynamics and Intersight platforms that it claimed would help predict and mitigate internet outages before they happen. And prior to that, Cisco announced integrations with a wide range of its networking equipment including its Catalyst 9000 switches. ®

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